2020, I see you.

Hi! I’m sorry it’s been awhile - this season has been such a rollercoaster! I’m sure you can relate. I’ve seen some hilarious (& seriously true) meme’s about 2020, and it got me thinking about our perspective.


- If we’re just waiting for it to be over, there are still 3 - 4 months to go! That’s the entire lifespan of a breed of chameleon. We could miss so many opportunities.


- If we’re just surviving each day, we’re wasting time, (see point above).


- If we’re isolating and focusing only on ourselves, we’re missing potentially the best opportunity we’ve had in years to cultivate deep relationships. People in this VA/MD/DC area focus on how busy they are, how packed their calendars are. I once heard a local pastor say that her schedule was so busy - she was having a really tough day and a friend randomly showed up to her house just to give her a hug, and her immediate reaction was “I don’t have time for this.”


That’s what we were coming from! Now, we’re in a season that prevents us from planning things more than a day or two out. We’ve had to be more patient, flexible, and understanding than ever before in our lives.



Who else has felt tired and lonely? We often use those terms together, but I want to dive into them separately today.


TIRED

There are different levels of tired, that get increasingly more difficult to bounce back from.

  • Physically tired. - sleeping and rest can resolve this type of tired.

  • Physically tired but your brain is wired. - anything that calms your nervous system is good for this type of tired - yoga, meditation, a bath, deep breathing.

  • Socially tired. - this usually happens after an event with the “extra grace required” people that we’ve talked about. Simply having downtime helps your mind and body recover from this.

  • Emotionally exhausted. - this happens after enough sitting on too many emotional rollercoasters in the same day - go on a walk or run, spend time in the garden, cooking, or doing a puzzle.

  • Soul tired. - this, this is what happens when we’ve poured out to others SO MUCH that our tanks are empty. Our soul is tired, down, keeps a negative outlook (“this is just how life is going to be”) - this is when you’ve lost hope. Hope for your work situation to get better, hope for your kids to return to school with a routine and their friends, hope that your marriage will be a fulfilling and connected foundation, hope that your loved one will recover.


I think people are tired - tired of the fear, tired of the news, tired of the what ifs, and really tired of the uncertainty. Think about your day yesterday, how many times did you think about something, and wonder ‘if it’ll get back to normal” or “if that place is open” or “if we can have that family reunion this fall.”

Pastor Steven Furtick said it best: “When you are tired, you start fighting battles that don’t matter.” Think about the last time you snapped at your husband and thought, “man I don’t even care about that, why did I even say that?” Or maybe yours is guilt after snapping at your kids for no reason. This is a symptom of something deeper —> a tired soul.

LONELY

Cigna releases a Loneliness Index each year. In January 2020, 61% of adults (3 out of 5) reported they were lonely. I can only imagine what that number is right now. People feel lonely and crave connection, but their lonely frame of mind makes it difficult to form these connections.



Ok Laura, so what do I do?

1 - Give yourself grace.

No one expected this. No one saw this coming. No one knew it would last this long. And NO ONE expects you to be perfect in every moment.


2 - Walk outside, or sit with a pet.

Why do people always feel better or walk to "clear their head"? The National Academy of Science tells us that oxygen and vitamin D are “essential in maintaining healthy brain function, growth, and healing.” It changes our focus and reminds us of the earth’s natural beauty. This can erase fear and doubt.

Studies show how much a connection with a pet can impact a person’s life. Thousands of families have adopted pets in the last 4 months. Your body reduces the level of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) it produces and also lowers your blood pressure when we interact with an animal we love. I heard once that the last thing I should do before falling asleep is to pet my cat. Done and done. Additional studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood. These are all important as we navigate these times!


3 - Do something creative.

A creative act (like crocheting, drawing, painting, designing, building, etc.) can help focus your mind and has an overwhelming calming effects on your brain. Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress by focusing your attention on something, not to mention the feeling of accomplishment when you’re done!


4 - and most importantly, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.

Find a way.


I am filled by the hope and promises from God. I believe that better things are coming. I believe that He won’t leave us where we are. I believe that He planned our days before we got here, and that He is not surprised by anything. This gives my mind rest!


Pastor Furtick (he’s clearly a favorite of mine, ha) reminds us that “faith doesn’t prevent fatigue, it just gives me a place to sit.” I like to sit and listen to Christian music and feel God’s peace as I slow down for a bit. A moment with Jesus can restore my heart, mind, and soul quicker than any activity I try to do on my own. If I have more time, I go for a walk on a local trail and I get the same experience.


What well do you drink from when you’re tired?


HIGHLIGHTED RESOURCE: Snippet from Pastor Furtick's Sermon on Emotionally Exhausted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaTTAk7Pvdo

Articles referenced:

Cigna: https://www.cigna.com/newsroom/news-releases/2020/cigna-takes-action-to-combat-the-rise-of-loneliness-and-improve-mental-wellness-in-america

National Academy of Science: https://www.advancedneurotherapy.com/blog/2015/09/10/walking-outside-brain

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